CONGRATULATIONS: The newly crowned Miss Pacific Islands, Matauaina Gwendolyn To’omalatai of American Samoa at the finale of the 31st Miss Pacific Islands Pageant at Prince Charles Park in Nadi, Fiji.
By Su’a Hesed Ieremia
The 24 year old was officially announced the winner Saturday night, and crowned by the outgoing Miss Pacific Islands, Anne Dunn in front of a packed stadium at Prince Charles Park in Nadi, Fiji.
American Samoa last won the title 15 years ago, when Lupe Ane Kenape Aumavae was crowned in the Cook Islands in 2002. This is the sixth time the title has travelled to American Samoa.
In receiving the title, the new Miss Pacific Islands was overwhelmed with emotion and could not hold back tears as she acknowledged everyone, including her father who recently passed away.
“To my dad, I wish you were here,” said the new Miss Pacific Islands with tears of joy. “To my families and friends, to my team and especially to my country, thank you all so much.”
“Thank you American Samoa, I’m truly so blessed to represent such a country.
”Faafetai tele lava, vinaka vakalevu.”
Miss To’omalatai was born in Onenoa, American Samoa, and was studying nursing at the University of Hawaii at Kapi’olani Community College before she entered the Pageant, with her goal of becoming a registered nurse specialising in treatment and care of diabetes patients and bring about awareness on diabetes.
She recently worked for the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, and will now focus on fulfilling her role as the Pacific Queen.
It was a feeling of warmth witnessed on stage amongst the nine beautiful contestants, in what is a fitting finale to what has been a hectic and fun-filled week of activities for the contestants from around the region, in the place where happiness finds you, Fiji.
On the theme of Climate Change to Sustain our Islands, the judged categories of the Pageant were divided into three nights, with the crowning on the fourth and final night as witnessed also by the Pacific region and around the world, through livestream and broadcast on Fiji TV.
The main and special awards for this year’s Pageant are listed below. Winner – Miss American Samoa.
1st Runner up – Miss Samoa Best Sarong – Miss Papua New Guinea
2nd Runner up – Miss Fiji Best Traditional attire – Miss American Samoa
3rd Runner up – Miss Cook Islands Best Talent – Miss Samoa
4th Runner up – Miss Rapa Nui Best Interview – Samoa
Special Awards: Miss Internet – Miss Samoa, Miss Personality – Miss Samoa, Miss Photogenic – Miss American Samoa, National Tourism Award – Miss American Samoa.
The contestants for this year’s Pageant were from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Samoa.
The major sponsor for the 2017 Miss Pacific Islands Pageant is the Fijian Government and supported by Vodafone Fiji Limited, Nadi Town Council, Miss Fiji Pageant Association, Go Advertising, Pure Fiji, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Official Sports Activity Wear partner – Qaqa, Opening Night Gown Designer – Mausio Designs.
The Host for the next Miss Pacific Islands Pageant is the Kingdom of Tonga. View photos and take a look at the events of the Pageant week on Website: http://www.misspacificislands.org/